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February 13, 2020 5 min read

Using an App to Reach Your Fitness Let's Talk Goals

If you have ever tried to lose weight, you know the struggle of trying to hold yourself accountable so that you can reach your goals. Everyone has different motivators and different methods that work for them. From the beginning of your weight loss journey to maintaining a healthy lifestyle, how do you track your numbers, meals, goals and all the rest?

Most people including myself have always been a pen and paper person, but after hundreds of scrap notes with meal diaries and workout logs piling up at the bottom of my gym bag, I found myself losing track. It felt defeating trying to start over again and again. That was until I swallowed my pride, but after a few eye rolls, I decided to start using a fitness app to keep track of my goals. My initial fear was that “out of sight, out of mind” would ring far too true here. However, it turns out that it’s not so bad, and I actually like using an app.

So, which app do I use and why?

MyFitnessPal: The Free App v Premium Membership

I have tried a few different apps and I am currently using MyFitnessPal. MyFitnessPal offers two plan options; free and premium. Let’s take a look at the differences of the two and which version will work best for you.

Free for All

The free version of the app has enough features to cause you to wonder how MyFitnessPal creators even turn a profit. The free version is a premium calorie counting app that also allows you to keep a log of your meals. You can also monitor your weight and your workouts. If you track your macros and measure every ounce of what you consume, the free version will not be beneficial to you. The free version doesn’t allow for the breakdown of carbs, fats and proteins. The free version will probably work best for you if you are just getting started on your weight loss journey or if you are at the point of maintaining your new lifestyle. With the free MyFitnessPal app, calorie counting is made easy. This is helpful for those whose brains hurt trying to add up every bite you took today. MyFitnessPal is not a weight loss program like other apps, but a tool to use if you’re more of a self-motivator. Their free program has just what you need to stay successful.

Members Only 😎 

The premium membership is available for $9.99 a month or $49.99 for the year. I found that the premium version is great if you’re a hardcore dieter or extremely organized with every aspect of your life. First of all, the premium version eliminates ads. Advertisements don’t bother everyone in the same way, but just like switching from your streaming service to basic cable, you don’t notice them until they’re gone, and once they come back, you’re always waiting for them to go away again.

Macro counters rejoice

The premium app has loads of macronutrient and other nutritional information. The premium version allows you to customize calorie goals as well as track how many you burned off on the treadmill this morning. Not only can you track your calories, but you can set fixed calorie intake by days of the week and each individual meal. MyFitnessPal Premium also allows you to export CSV files to plug directly into a spreadsheet on your desktop. 

Which version is best?

This is completely dependent on what you are looking to achieve. If you are looking for a guided workout program, this app is not for you, but if you’re looking for an easy to use calorie counter and to monitor a few other details, the free version will work well for you. If you have an extra fifty bucks lying around and are serious about maintaining your figure, the premium version is a great choice. MyFitnessPal is fairly priced for a calorie counting app and when you sign up for the whole year, it is actually quite cheap. With a premium membership, you have access to a large food database, workout suggestions, short videos and a complete calorie control system with customizable calendars.

How do I use MyFitnessPal?

After downloading the app, compatible with a wide range of devices, you give your measurements, basic information, blood of your first born (I’m kidding about that last one) and that’s it! The entire process is a lot quicker than competing weight loss apps. Since this is not a complete weight loss program, MyFitnessPal doesn’t need to know much beyond your body type and measurements to estimate how many calories your body burns in a day. 

The next step is a rundown of your weight loss goals and your ideal plan of attack. MyFitnessPal will let you gain one pound or lose two pounds per week maximum. The app will then calculate a daily calorie goal. Now you are on your way to counting calories, both consumed and burned.

I really like the daily feedback from MyFitnessPal. They give you a little glimpse of the future if you were to continue on every day as if it were today. They also send you warnings if you start to display unhealthy behavior like skipping on your calories every day. Like a true pal, MyFitnessPal is concerned with losing weight and maintaining a healthy lifestyle and not about being the skinniest or the fattest. I like the honest feedback because without a real person there to help you out, it can be easy to cheat your entries to try and reach your goals faster which could in turn be harmful to your health.

Using MyFitnessPal feels like a digital notebook. I simply log in each time I consume something and track everything I may eat or drink in a day. It is easy to adjust food portions on the app; say you only eat half of an apple, you can track the exact half and save those calories that you would’ve sacrificed counting the whole apple. This is extremely helpful for tracking things like salads and smoothies by each individual ingredient. With packaged foods, you can scan the item’s barcode, and chances are the enormous food database on MyFitnessPal will have it. A search option is also available in multiple languages so tracking your food travels is just as easy as it is at home.

Final thoughts…

MyFitnessPal is my top choice for an easy to use calorie counting app. I use the free version myself to maintain my lifestyle after a huge weight loss. I love scanning foods wherever I go and it has become second nature to use the app before I put any food or drink near my mouth. I like the weight and portion adjustments and the fact that I don’t have to manually input every ounce of ingredient. If you are after a more regimented routine, I would recommend the premium version, but if you don’t mind a few ads and can do without knowing your macros, the free version will work just fine for you too.

 

Want to download MyFitnessPal?

Here is the app for iPhone users

Here is the app for Android users

 

Not as much of a self starter? Check out Avatar Nutrition, a subscription based virtual nutrition coach! Interested? Check out the video below and use the discount code MIDWESTMEALS to save 10% off any level of subscription!


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